View from the Hill: Hilltop Restoration Project

WKU expands accessibility across campus with the Hilltop Restoration Project which will create new pathways for student success.
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 4:09 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The Hilltop Restoration Project is one of many ways WKU is making campus as accessible and barrier-free as possible.

“Everybody belongs on the Hill.” That’s the tagline associated with WKU’s observance of Neurodiversity Awareness Week, a chance to highlight all the ways WKU’s physical environment can enhance learning.

“We have been working on making the hill accessible to everybody for a long time,” said Chief Facilities Officer, Bryan Russell.

GIS Specialist Josh Montgomery is able to monitor the improvements very closely.

“The reason that we got the drone was to be able to document these changes, these physical changes on campus,” said Montgomery.

The biggest transformation was the Hilltop Restoration Project located across from the Commons.

“One of the ways we’ve been able to transform the campus is by the larger projects we’ve had,” said Montgomery.

“As we took down Garrett Conference Center, we did a study and envisioned how we could reclaim, and provide more green space consistent with our master plan,” said Rusell.

He says some of the goals of the Hilltop Restoration Project were to eliminate vehicle/pedestrian interaction. The area also features wide sidewalks and accessibility.

More touch openings have been added throughout campus and steps that had been around for decades were eliminated in order to widen sidewalks and create more barrier-free entrances.

“We have actually, are creating, off of College Heights Boulevard, a great barrier-free walkway from College Heights Boulevard up in front of Cherry Hall and Gordon Wilson Hall,” said Rusell.

Other safety measures include emergency phones that WKU Police continue monitoring throughout campus.

“You can press a button and it dials directly into dispatch, so that person can speak to dispatch about what may be going on at the time and we send a police officer,” said WKU Police Chief, Mitch Walker.

WKU Police Department operates 24/7 365 days a year even when students are gone for the semester.

Parking and Transportation also play a big role in student success by getting them where they need to go.

“Topper Transit offers a variety of transportation solutions to help get students across campus, all our buses are ADA accessible,” said Assistant Director of Transportation Services, Tim McWhorter.

Students needing curb-to-curb drop-off can also register for the ADA van service.

All of these elements go hand in hand with the physical improvements to make WKU more accessible for all.